Chelsea have activated the release clause for Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise. The 21 year old is now set for a move across London in a major blow to Roy Hodgson’s plans for the new season at Selhurst Park. Here's a look at why Chelsea are signing Michael Olise.
The Frenchman who can operate as a winger or attacking midfielder is set to move after two seasons at Palace. He’d previously enjoyed a major breakthrough season during the 2020/21 Championship at Reading with the then teenager bagging 7 goals and 12 assists, having only previously registered one goal contribution in senior football.
Understandably, Olise took a bit of time to adapt to the jump up to the Premier League, starting only 12 league games during his first campaign at Palace. However he was a fixture in the side during the 2022/23 season, emerging as one of the brightest young players in the division.
Great value in this market?
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 16, 2023
With Olise’s release clause reported at being £35m, it feels like Chelsea are getting a good deal here given the way the prices have again risen this summer. With the club also set to spend more than £160m to bring Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo to Stamford Bridge, there are some eye watering transfer fees currently being paid for players who in many cases have had little more than one promising season.
Todd Boehly has been as guilty as anyone for spending big and contributing to an inflated transfer market, but he might just have landed a bargain here as he continues to target the best young players in England and across the continent. Chelsea are poised to sign a 21 year old who has already made a big impression in the Premier League with lots of decisive contributions in the final third of the pitch.
Typically it is attacking players who are the most costly to buy, so £35m does not seem like an enormous amount of money for Olise in a summer of £100m+ defensive midfielders. Indeed, it feels like Crystal Palace may have underestimated Olise’s potential and the likely direction of the transfer market when they set the release clause in the deal that took him from Reading two summers ago.
No U23 player in Europe's top five divisions provided more league assists than Michael Olise last season 🎯 pic.twitter.com/Vxyz7MCzOV
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) August 15, 2023
The most striking thing about Olise’s game is his creativity and ability to open up defences and serve up chances for his teammates. He registered an outstanding 11 assists in the 2022/23 Premier League and that was in a team without a truly convincing striker.
No player under 23 years old in Europe’s big five leagues could better that tally and given that stat alone, it’s perhaps surprising that it has taken until mid August for Olise’s release clause to be activated. Even when you widen it out to all Premier League players, only Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah and Leandro Trossard could better Olise’s assist tally.
With a couple of goals also to his name, Olise played a direct part in 13 Premier League goals in total with only Eberechi Eze managing more in a Palace shirt. With club legend Wifried Zaha having already departed Selhurst Park, the departure of Olise comes as a huge blow for Palace so late in the summer, although they still managed to put in an impressive opening day performance without the duo, winning 1-0 at newly promoted Sheffield United.
Wise beyond his years
Compared to young players like Nicolas Jackson and Carney Chukwuemeka who have joined Chelsea since Boehly’s takeover with only a very limited amount of elite level experience, Olise arrives as a far more polished and developed footballer.
Despite his age, Olise already has nearly 150 appearances to his name in senior football in England having made his Reading debut as a 17 year old. He has appeared in 63 Premier League games across his two seasons at Palace so Chelsea are getting a player who feels ready to make an impression from the off at Stamford Bridge.